Posts Tagged ‘John Muir’

“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. ”  ~John Muir


Tree Partnerships

During the three summers I spent at Lake Walcott, I never got tired of looking at the park’s many trees. My favorites were the willows, Russian olives and the cottonwoods. The cottonwoods, thanks to Snake River irrigation water, were huge, the willows graceful and the frosty color of the Russian olives, which also grew larger than any I had seen elsewhere, gave the park’s greenness a vibrant texture.

Arms entwined in a naked embrace. Bell-lughing now. How about you? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Arms entwined in a naked embrace. Belly-laughing  now. How about you? — Photo by Pat Bean

What amazed me was how many of them seemed to have grown up in pairs.

And like John Muir, I saw the trees in their many moods: From their naked branches, whose forms sometimes made me think of an Escher painting, to their passionate dance when a wind storm blew across the park, to their quiet summer verdancy when they issued an invitation for me to sit beneath them and partake of their shaded coolness.  

And when I saw this week’s photo theme, the trees were the first thing that popped into my mind. if trees could make love, would their foreplay begin with kissing leaves? What do you think?

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Sunrise and a Pair of Cooper’s Hawks

“The grand show is eternal It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling, vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in turn, as the round earth rolls.” – John Muir

First I saw the sunrise ... -- Photo by Pat Bean

First I saw the sunrise … — Photo by Pat Bean

A morning couldn’t get any better 

And then I saw one hawk ... -- Photo by Pat Bean

And then I saw one hawk … — Photo by Pat Bean

           I was sitting at my computer, drinking my cream-laced Sumatran coffee and wondering what I was going to blog about today when my phone chimed that I had just received a text message.            “Shhh. Come look,” my neighbor Betty Ann had written.

And so, quietly, I stepped out onto my third-floor balcony and was greeted with a blooming-pink sunrise that brought cheer to my soul. Beautiful, I thought, but why did I have to be quiet to see it.

And then I heard a throaty kek-keky-kek coming from a tall tree in the courtyard.

... and then I saw the second Cooper's hawk. -- Photo by Pat Bean

… and then I saw the second Cooper’s hawk. — Photo by Pat Bean

Not one, but two hawks, were sitting among the branches. I quickly, and quietly, stepped back inside and grabbed my camera.

From their rusty-red breasts, I thought I was looking at a couple of red-shouldered hawks, but a few minutes later, when I put my binoculars on them, I realized they were Cooper’s hawks. While both birds of prey have streaked red breasts, their head shapes and the rest of their coloring is quite different.

I’m hoping the pair will build a nest in that tree. What a daily bird-watching adventure I will have if they do. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Hiking the Colorado Trail http://tinyurl.com/b2tqg2l I love hiking trails, but for the next month or so my broken foot is keeping me off them. Perhaps that’ why I so enjoyed my arm-chair hike this morning with this Fabulous 50’s blogger.

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 “How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof … it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone – we all dwell in a house of one room – the world with firmament for its roof.” –John Muir

Lake Powell — It was here that I spent my first night in my brand new RV, which I call Gypsy Lee — Photo by Pat Bean

I Chose Lake Powell’s Wahweap Campground

Make reservations or go with the flow?

The campground meets my desire for a scenic place for me and my canine traveling companion to take a pleasant walk. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s a question often on my mind as my canine traveling companion, Pepper, and I roam the country in Gypsy Lee, our 22-foot home on wheels.

I actually do both.

Knowing I have a place to stay for the night lets me enjoy my dawdling sight-seeing ways without worry. Not having a reservation means I can go as few or as many miles as I want before stopping for the day.

There have been times when I’ve traveled as few as 15 miles before seeing an inviting place to stay and stopped. There have also been times when I’ve driven 400 miles because nothing captured my fancy – or there was nothing. I really hate the latter situation, but it’s happened to me both in Texas and New Mexico, where there are a lot of wide-open spaces with nothing appealing in between.

And Gypsy Lee, left, has a place to park with a view of the lake. — Photo by Pat Bean

What I want in a nightly roosting place is a scenic landscape, a hiking trail and internet access. I know I’ll find the first two at a state or national park, which are my favorite roosts, but the latter is iffy, especially if the campground is much distance from a populated area.

But that’s changed a lot during the eight years since I traded my Ogden, Utah, home for Gypsy Lee. I started my travels using my phone as the modem for internet connection, and often had to drive into town to make a connection. Today, I have my own Verizon hot spot and the times when I have to say “I can’t hear you” are getting fewer and fewer.

And the flowers were a bonus — Photo by Pat Bean

Since it was a weekday, I hadn’t called ahead for campground reservations the day I visited the Grand Canyon on my way to Zion National Park. Nor did I check my Trailer Life Directory for potential places to stay. I knew Lake Powell’s Wahweap Campground lay directly in path. It was the place I stayed my very first night on the road in Gypsy Lee. It had it all.

Bean’s Pat: 10,000 Birds http://tinyurl.com/6ogapq3Go birding in Namibia.  

*This pat-on-the-back recognition is merely this wandering/wondering old broad’s way of bringing attention to a blog I enjoyed – and thought perhaps my readers might, too. June 12, patbean.wordpress.com

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“I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel  about as far as we do.  They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!”  ~John Muir

Two Trees

I think of these two live oak trees that grow in a park on the Texas Gulf Coast as two old companions who grew up together and whose roots are now entwined like a rare couple who has been able to weather the hard times and age gracefully together. I suspect they are now so joined that they can not survive without each other. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And is this one tree or two?

And this great willow, that sits beside Lake Walcott in Idaho, reminds me of a couple who married young and then split asunder so that they appear as two trees. -- Photo by Pat Bean

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“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Utah 

Mother Nature's arrangement of rocks was used in the opening scenes of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." -- Photo by Pat Bean

Bean’s Pat: Ummm, really? http://tinyurl.com/6t3vgps Start your day with a song.

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Above Photo: Masai Mara sunset, Wikipedia

How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has this glorious starry firmament for a roof! In such places … it is easy to realize that whatever special nests we make – leaves and moss like the marmots and birds, or tents or piled stone – we all dwell in a house of one room – the world with the firmament for its roof.” – John Muir

Me playing John Wayne in "Hatari" at the Ambolseli Air Strip. Also pictures is Jackson, a member of the Maasai tribe who was nearing the end of his five-year apprenticeship to be a guide. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

African Safari: Little Governor’s Lodge

After breakfast, Emanuel drove us the Amboseli Airport, a dirt landing strip with only a sign announcing its purpose, where we were to catch an 8:30 a.m. flight back to Nairobi’s small Wilson Airport.

In reminiscence of John Wayne in “Hatari,” I sat on the fender seat of the Land Rover and drank my coffee while we waited for the small plane to arrive. It was late.

The flight was a replay of the informal flight we had taken to Tanzania on our first full day in Africa, and was repeated again on the connecting flight we took from Nairobi on to the Masai Mara National Reserve, which is the northern end of Serengeti National Park.

Kim on board for the boat ride across the Mara River to get to Little Governor's Lodge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Our small plane landed on a dirt strip within sight of zebra and giraffes. The smallest airport I had landed in up to this point had been a dirt strip in Smiley, Idaho, but then there had been a small town across the road.

A wart hog visits our tent at Little Governor's. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Here, at the Amboseli airport, there was nothing but wilderness and wildlife. I loved it.

From the airport it was a just a short distance to Little Governor’s Lodge, another tent camp and one where we would sleep for the next four nights. 

To get to the lodge complex, which was on an island surrounded by the Mara River and a swamp, we,took a boat powered by two staff members and a rope, to get across the river. Once across, we were met by a big-stick armed guard who escorted us the quarter-mile to camp.

Other stick-armed guards took us from the main, open air lodge buildings, to our tent, which in any sense of the word was much more than that. It included a large, tiled open shower and a front porch on which we could sit and watch animals across the swamp.

At closer range were wart hogs that roamed the tent complex. Our favorite of these was a mom with a tiny young one. The pair came right up to our porch. What fun, especially after we were told they were harmless.

Wart hogs were funny animals. We often saw them running full speed through the grass with their tails stuck straight up in the air. Then suddenly they would stop, as if they forgot where they were going.

Such behavior assured that they were often the entrée on a lion’s menu.

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“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” … John Muir

"Rite of Passage" sculpture at Farragut State Park ... Photo by Pat Bean

 He’s called Mack.  He’s the “Rite of Passage” sculpture that sits outside the Museum at the Brig at Farragut State Park, and he represents the 293,381 sailors trained here during World War II.

 I had no idea the park was a former naval base when I accepted an opportunity to volunteer here. I quickly jumped at the offer based on the park’s Idaho Panhandle location. I spent last summer in Texas wilting from too many hot humid summer days and I had no intention of repeating the foolish action.

 I chose well. Today will be my first 90-degree day, and without my native state’s humidity I’m still quite comfortable, although I’ll probably turn on my air conditioner when the sun hits my RV later in the day for a couple of hours. The rest of the time, my campground site is well shaded.

I’m rather fond of Mack. Possibly because my daughter spent 10 years in the Navy, serving in the Gulf War, and possibly because yesterday my son, a career Army man and Blackhawk helicopter pilot, was deployed to Afghanistan. It’s nice to know people care enough about our military sons and daughters to create a work of art memorializing them.

Apple blossoms

Butter and eggs' blossoms

 Meanwhile, sitting here in such a tranquil setting where butter and egg, two-toned yellow blossoms color the landscape beneath the pink flowers of an apple tree and robins raise their babies, it’s hard to imagine the ugliness of a battle field. Sadly I know that most people don’t want to imagine that scene. Perhaps if more people would, an end to war would come sooner.

 I’m a flower child. I want peace. When I was younger I believed I might live to see such a day. I now know I won’t. All I’m left with believing is that perhaps my grandchildren will – and hoping that my son returns safely from Afghanistan.

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